Trainer, author, and fitness model Kirk Charles, NASM-CPT CES, knows that as you get older, life can get more complicated. But that shouldn’t prevent you from being on top of your game. He’ll help to answer the tough training questions that come with age so you too can be Fit Beyond 40.
As older men, a solid way to stay engaged with workouts is to challenge ourselves with different exercises. My biggest challenge at 58 years of age is my mobility. Over the years, I’ve lost some range of motion in most of my joints, especially my hips. That’s mostly due to my focus on building strength and honing athletic ability, but not including enough mobility training in my workout regimen. Now, I like to introduce mobility work using certain exercises, one of which is the Spiderman pushup. The exercise helps to loosen up those tight hips and expand your range of motion while also honing your upper body and core strength.
To get started, get into a plank position to do a traditional pushup. Your hands should be under your shoulders with your feet shoulder width apart. Squeeze your glutes, abs, and shoulder blades to create full-body tension. Start lowering into a pushup. As you descend, raise your right foot and drive your knee toward your elbow, working to keep it in line with your hip. Then, as you push back up, return your right leg back to the starting position. Repeat the pushup by working the other side of your body, bringing your left knee up to your elbow.
There are several challenges with the Spiderman pushup. Bringing your knee out to the side and keeping it in line with your body is tough, especially if you’re a bit stiff. That takes external rotation of your hips and greatly tests your glute strength and range of motion.
Maintaining a neutral spine as you descend into the pushup is also challenging. Your core must be solid to keep your hips from dipping, something you never want in a pushup. Additionally, there’s an anti-rotation component that works your core—as soon as you lift one leg off the ground, gravity is tugging that same side of your body toward the floor, testing your abs even further.
All of the above is a lot to handle in one exercise for anyone who needs mobility training. Some guys might struggle with the pushup, especially with the added lower body movement, while others might have a difficult time externally rotating the lifted leg. If that’s the case, you can try working in the different components of the exercise separately, i.e. performing the knee drive from a high plank position, then adding a pushup rep. Once you can work your up up to the full movement, try adding the Spiderman pushup to your workout for 3 sets of 6 to 8 reps.
Kirk Charles is a Certified Personal Trainer, Writer and Fitness Model who has conducted 10,000+ training sessions to help his clients become Fit Beyond 40.
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